LUBBOCK, Texas — When wish families arrive at Give Kids The World, they check into their own villa. And that’s exactly what the family of Wish Kid Rylan Oaks did.
Give Kids the World is a non-profit organization that works with about two hundred fifty wish organizations across the world, including Make-A-Wish.
“Wish kids stay with us at our eighty four acre resort, that’s completely accessible and is really a destination in itself,” said Jessica Mueller, Social Media/Content Strategist for Give Kids the World. “We have accessible rides, we feed them three meals a day and provide their transportation. And then they get tickets to the theme parks as well. Three days to Disney, two days to Universal, and one day to Seaworld, for their world class experience.”
For the entire week, anything the wish kids want, they get!
Rylan Oaks said she was excited because she got her very own room.
“At Give Kids the World we try to create a week of hope and a week of yes,” Mueller said. “So often children with a critical illness hear no due to the limitations of their illnesses.”
Saying yes includes eating ice cream whenever they want.
“Ice cream once a day,” Rylan Oaks said.
“We do serve unlimited ice cream to our families all day every day,” Mueller said. “That’s something our founder started. Truly its the simple joy sometime that bring kids hope. The idea that they can have ice cream anytime they want is pretty magical for a little kid.”
This magical place isn’t just geared toward the wish kid. The entire family is special, and Give Kids the World makes sure they know it.
“There was a spa I took Rylan’s sister to and she was there getting her makeup done at the spa,” said Kathy Oaks, Rylan’s mom. “Another family came in that had two daughters and the wish kid got her nails painted then they asked the sister ‘what do you want to have done?’ her eyes lit up.”
You could tell she didn’t know that she was maybe going to get something special like her sister.
That’s exactly what the family’s stay is all about.
“We accommodate not only the wish child but the entire wish family,” Mueller said. “This is so important to us the entire family feels the effects of dealing with a child with critical illness. This is really their chance to be together and experience being a family.”
The resort has something special for the kids every single day. As they pack in a year’s worth of celebrations into one week.
“Every night has its own theme, It’s own activities first night mayor Clayton birthday games prizes,” Kathy Oaks said. “Then Thursday was winter wonderland. Santa comes from all the way from the north pole and get to tell him what they want for Christmas.”
It takes a lot of volunteers to make it all happen.
“We actually fill eighteen hundred volunteer shifts every single week at the village,” Mueller said. “That is anything from operating rides, to serving meals, to assisting characters and even have them driving cookie and pizza carts around to our families in their villas.”
Arguably the most special place at the village is the Castle Of Miracles.
“So every child when they check in at Give Kids the World is given a gold star. They’re told to go to our Castle of Miracles at some point during their stay,” Mueller said. “Then Stellar, our star fairy takes the star and places it into the galaxy. Every wish child that visits the village has a star in our castle. It’ll be there for life. Right now we have one hundred thirty five thousand stars that are in our castle.”
The magnitude of what these stars mean is something Kathy Oaks will never forget.
“For us, my husband and I, it was really touching to walk through all these stars and think about parents and families,” she said. “To sit under these stars, the miracles they have probably prayed for over the years. It’s really touching mind boggling to walk under these stars.”
When it’s time to go home, wish families have a ton of stuff to bring with them.
“Whenever we got back to the village we had a different gift.” Kathy Oaks said.
“Joy jar and it had a thousand things in it,” said Rylan Oaks. “Ton of fun things to do.”
It’s not just the fun toys, Give Kids the World hopes families take home.
“We truly believe that the hope our wish families feel from the wish experience gives them hope to keep fighting and overcome,” Mueller said.
Oaks is a blogger for Lubbock Moms Blog.
She wrote about their experience at Give Kids the World.
Click here to read more.
If you’d like to learn more about Give Kids The World, visit them by clicking here.
If you’d like to get involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation just give them a call at 806-785-9474.
Wish Wednesday is sponsored by Michael Postar’s Affordable Storage.